Put On the New Self (4:17-32)
Welcome to Week 7 of your Ephesians Bible Study.
This week we’ll be studying Ephesians 4:17-32.
This section is a continuation of the main theme, which Paul began to treat at the start of Chapter 4, which is the command to “walk worthy of your calling.”
Thus, it contains a reminder to leave behind your old ways (before Christ). In addition, Paul provides a rather lengthy list of moral and ethical exhortations to strive for as you live out your life in Christ.
Read Ephesians 4:17-19
These verses paint a very bleak description of your past life (before coming to Christ). Paul here severely criticizes this way of life and describes it as “walking like the Gentiles.
Questions to Reflect on the Passage
In these first few verses of this section (vv. 17-19), Paul warns the Ephesian believers to “no longer walk as the Gentiles walk…”
He then lists at least nine (9) traits that characterize these “Gentiles”:
- What are these nine traits that Paul enumerates? What are the overlaps or similarities within these traits?
Read Ephesians 4:20-24
Paul here speaks once again about “our former manner of life” or the “old self.”
Paul uses two words having to do with clothing, that of “laying aside” and “putting on”, to describe the changes that should be taking place in each believer.
- Again, what characterizes the “old self” (v. 22)?
- Paul suggests two things that we should do in laying aside the “old self.” What are they (v. 23 and 24)?
- List two qualities for which the “new self” has been created (v. 24).
Read Ephesians 4:25-32
Paul here intensifies the list of moral imperatives that should characterize the lives of each believer.
- What specific moral imperatives does Paul give in this section? List them out carefully.
- What overlaps or similarities do you find in these various commands? Do some commands expand on others? How?
- What do vv. 26-27 state regarding anger?
- Verse 32 touches on the area of forgiveness. With what measure should you forgive someone according to this verse?
Questions to Reflect on Your Life
- Look over the list from vv. 17-19 which you created above. Are there any traits which characterized your life in particular prior to coming to faith in Christ? Comment.
- Why would Paul use the imagery of laying aside and putting on clothes to describe your salvation? What are some potential implications for the use of this type of imagery?
- Why is truthfulness such an important virtue in the Scriptures (v. 25)? What are some barriers that would prevent you from being truthful and honest with people?
- Do any of the affirmations regarding anger (vv. 26-27) surprise you or challenge you? Why would anger be described as “giving the devil an opportunity?”
- Verses 29 and 31 touch on the issue of speech once again? Why is this such an important area for Christians to watch? Are you prone to unwholesome talk?
- Do you speak only things which are edifying? Comment. Are you guilty of any of the issues touched upon in verse 31? What will you do to change that?
- Verse 32 touches on the area of forgiveness. Think back to your former way of life and to the things which God has forgiven you (both past and present).
- Is there someone you need to forgive in light of God’s forgiveness of you in Christ? If so, deal with it right away.